We commend him to you as the answer to your life’s deepest needs and questions.
Please be sure to have a look at the "Who is Jesus" presentation.
THE IMPECCABILITY OF CHRIST
BY SYDNEY MAXWELLThe title of this article, properly defined, means much more than that our blessed Lord was faultless and sinless. The Gospels give abundant evidence and leave us in no doubt about His sinlessness.
Impeccability is infinitely more than that.
Charles Hodge has stated, "This sinlessness of our Lord, however, does
not amount to absolute impeccability; it was rather, He was able not to sin."
To rest short of anything less than an impeccable Christ is to destroy the
foundation of the redemptive work at Calvary upon which all our hopes are built.
It will also remove from us the only perfect example of our walk and conduct.
Let us look at this holy theme, dependent on the Holy Spirit to guide us in tracing the pathway of the Lord Jesus. Then we will be better fitted to heed the exhortation of Peter, that we should follow His steps (1 Pet. 2:21). We will view His impeccability in five areas of the Gospel records.
THE MANNER OF HIS CONCEPTION.
The reader of the two accounts given in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter
1 will notice that they are independent, yet complimentary.
The Revised reading of Luke 1:35 is preferred;
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore, also that which is to be born shall be called Holy, the Son of God."
The One Who existed before the manger in Bethlehem (John 8:58) took to Himself
humanity. Thus the impeccability of the Lord Jesus is assured by the union of
the Divine nature and the human nature in one glorious and unique personality.
This is sufficient to satisfy our hearts. While saints, in circumstances helped by the Holy Spirit may be able not to sin; with our Lord it was vastly different, He was not able to sin, because of Who He is, evidenced by His miraculous conception. May we never at any time seek to divide His personality. He was weary (John 4:6) yet He was the source of the life-giving water (John 4:14). He wept at the grave (John 11:35) yet He raised Lazarus (John 11:43). Glorious Person! Behold the Man! (John 19:5). Behold Thy God! (Isa. 40:9). We say in worship with Thomas, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). If we could understand it, there would be no mystery (1 Tim. 3:16).
THE MEANING OF HIS CONCEALMENT.
There is a vast difference between outward blamelessness and impeccability.
The years of gracious subjection, the details of which are hidden from us,
are properly assessed by His Father, under Whose holy gaze He lived.
THE MYSTERY OF HIS CONFLICT.
Our Lord had presented Himself at the Jordan for baptism (Matt. 3:13). Seeing it was a baptism unto repentance, the reluctance of the Baptist is understood. Here was One with no sins to confess and nothing of which to repent. The Lord's words are explanation enough: "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness."
From this place of commendation He goes forth to the conflict; in the perfection
of His holiness He was to meet the Devil; who can find out every moral weakness
in fallen man; who had instigated disobedience in the first Adam (Rom. 5:12).
Satan was now to meet defeat in the Last Adam (Heb. 2:14, 1 John 3:8). In the
congenial circumstances of the garden the first man proved he could sin. In
the barren wilderness among the wild beasts, weary and hungry (Matt. 4:1-11,
Luke's description of the temptation is moral. Matthew follows a chronological sequence as can be seen from the repetition of the words "then" (Matt. 4:1,5) and "again" (v.8). The first temptation was; "Please Thyself," the second" Display Thyself" and the final one was "Glorify Thyself", or in other words to leave the path of dependence, devotion and Divine leading. There was nothing in that Holy Nature to respond to the evil from without. The tempter was repelled by the dependent Man and His use of the Word of God. The question is often asked, why the temptation if our Lord could not sin? It was to prove He could not sin. "He Himself hath suffered, being tempted" will ever be a mystery to us (Heb. 2:18). The holier the person the greater degree of suffering when tempted of evil. Joseph is an example. The purer the metal the more severe is its test by fire. His impeccability is revealed as He returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee (Luke 4:14). Later He was to return to the Throne of Glory, a suitable and sympathetic High Priest as the result of His temptation and His further great triumph at Calvary (Heb. 4:14-16).
THE MEASURE OF HIS CONSECRATION.
As we draw near to the close of His pilgrimage and service, we are made to
worship and say with the hymn writer, "Hallelujah! What a Saviour!"
He stands in the blaze of the Divine Presence, before the searchlight of Omniscience
and declares from a devoted heart, "I have glorified Thee on the earth;
I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do" (John 17:4).
THE MESSAGE OF HIS COMMENDATION.
The Mount of Transfirguration saw the Lord arrayed outwardly in what was but the manifestation of inward perfection (Matt. 17:1-8, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36). Mark says, "And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them" (Mark 9:3). The commendation of the Father on the Mount spanned the brief years from the Jordan to the last week (Matt. 17:5). Great personages of a bygone day, great in their time, but peccable in their character, must be removed and the wondering disciples must see "no man, save Jesus only" (Matt. 17:8). In His impeccability He must stand alone, no son of men fit to stand beside Him. The shadows of Calvary cross His pathway now and the prospect of it only manifested the love of His devoted heart, and the Father's voice again confirmed the glory given to Him (John 12:27-28).
We have heard the Divine testimony.
We look forward to the day when we, morally like Him, shall join our voices
around the Throne and proclaim His matchless worth (Rev. 5:9).
"Thy stainless life, Thy lovely walk
BY SYDNEY MAXWELL